OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma expects to receive its weather-delayed weekly shipment of the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday and is scheduling vaccination clinics during the weekend to replace those that were postponed, deputy state health commissioner Keith Reed said Thursday.
The weather-related delay in vaccine shipments, though, has not caused a delay in vaccinations because they were already being postponed at state PODS, or Point of Dispensing Sites, due to the winter storm that struck Oklahoma, according to Reed.
“We've been in the middle of this deep freeze, this snow and ice ... which has forced us to limit our PODS and forced us to reschedule clinics,” Reed said. “The shipment delay is not going to adversely affect our ability to re-engage our PODS."
The state, which has been vaccinating those 65 and older, plans to open vaccination clinics starting Monday to anyone 16 and older with comorbidities that make them more susceptible to the virus, and to teachers and school staff.
The state is to receive about 110,000 vaccine doses on Saturday and about 137,000 more doses next week, Reed said.
“I think we'll be able to make up for lost time pretty easily,” Reed said. “It's not going to be a difficult stretch for us to engage our partners and our resources and get caught up" on planned vaccinations.
The number of deaths in Oklahoma due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus surpassed 4,100 on Thursday and the number of reported cases is now above 416,000, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
There were 23 more deaths and 618 additional cases for totals of 4,112 dead and 416,476 infected since the pandemic began, OSDH reported.
The number of new cases and deaths have declined in the past two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The seven-day rolling averages of new cases dropped from 2,167 per day to 1,162 and the average daily number of deaths from 38 to 27, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
Oklahoma was fourth in the nation in the number of new cases per capita with 547.16 per 100,000 residents, according to the university's data. The state was 16th nationally in the percentage of the population that has received at least the one dose of the virus vaccine with 12.3% inoculated, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.